“I wanted a job where I could combine my acting career with being an example for my community.”
Sara Pérez Fandiño was born and raised in A Coruña, Spain. Her childhood was not easy: she felt everything was difficult, even though everybody loved and nurtured her. Sara started working while she was studying Audio-visual communication and dramatic art, first as professional gymnastics trainer then as an actress. Before setting up her company, Sara worked in a variety of roles teaching dancing classes, as well as acting and singing in many schools in her city.
When she was employed, Sara missed her freedom and was unhappy with the low salaries and poor working contracts. Moreover, she felt the quality of teaching had been deteriorating: it was as if “nobody cared about boys and girls who really wanted to learn”. Tired of her professional life, she decided to become an entrepreneur with the view of carving out a role that would grant her enough flexibility to pursue her acting career as well as give back to her community.
Last year Sara’s Galician School of Musical theatre opened its doors for the first time. The school offers classes for both children and adults, with the idea of mixing different artistic disciplines with theatre and combining elements of the Galician culture with contemporary Broadway trends. To get her new company know, Sara advertised the school online and in local newspapers and started sharing the news with her friends and acquaintances. The school is now getting a name of itself and other actors working with children recommend Sara’s classes. Word of mouth is helping her getting more exposure and more customers.
Despite Sara’s enthusiasm, setting up her school was tough:
“The biggest challenge was seeing me alone in a working world that no one had told me existed and that nobody had told me how to manage.”
Even finding a space to rent was hard as the estate agencies didn’t take her seriously. Luckily a friend of a friend introduced Sara to Fundación Ronsel, which provided her with training on competencies needed to become an entrepreneur. Fundación Ronsel is one of Youth Business Spain’s local partners offering advice to entrepreneurs in the process of preparing their business plans. The training really helped Sara change her attitude, putting “the entrepreneur chip” in her mind. She learned to be more patient, organised and to understand that she cannot go as fast as she would like. She has now the right skills to talk to other entrepreneur and banks without feeling inadequate.
Sara is proud of her contribution to her local community. Thanks to her theatre classes, children learn how to manage their feelings, to become more resilient and understand how to channel their emotions in a positive way. Most of adults, instead, are people working with their voice, such as teachers, who have issues with their vocal tracts which they cannot solve with speech therapy. Sara’s longer-term goal is to boost the Galician theatre scene with new shows and to reach out to new audiences.
Her piece of advice to young entrepreneurs is:
“Try it out, without fear, but if it doesn’t work out, don’t see it as a failure because working for other also has huge advantages and entrepreneurship is not for not everyone. You have to be passionate about what you do, and this will make you want more and undertake and create more.”
Youth Business Spain supports young entrepreneurs to start, consolidate and grow their self-employment projects, as a quality alternative to unemployment. It is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.